1. Household chemicals linked to early menopause

    BPA isn't the only common chemical that could be ruining your health - the very ingredients that add so much convenience to modern life could also cause early menopause.

    The chemicals are perfluorocarbons, or PFCs, known endocrine disruptors that can throw your hormones out of whack. You'll find them in many of the products that claim to be waterproof, wrinkle-free, stain resistant, and non-stick.

    And now, researchers say women with the highest levels of this stuff are far more likely to experience early menopause than women with the lowest.

    Researchers tracked 26,000 women participating in the C8 Health Project, funded by Dupont as part of a settlement of a lawsuit over contaminated drinking water near one of the company's plants in West Virginia.

    The researchers found that women between the ages of 42 and 64 with the highest levels of one PFC in particular, PFOS, had the highest risk of an early menopause.

    They also found that women between the ages of 42 and 51 years old with the highest levels of PFOS were 40 percent more likely to have experienced menopause than women in the same age group with the lowest levels, according to the study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

    The researchers say that's because PFOS can lower levels of estradiol, which is a form of estrogen. And when estrogen levels fall, menopause can't be far behind.

    It's something every woman goes through eventually... but women who experience early menopause face a higher risk later of heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, cataracts and even gum disease... not to mention emotional stress and inner turmoil when they realize "the change" has come early.

    But let's get back to those chemicals, because PFOS isn't the only PFC you need to watch out for.

    They're all bad news - for men, women and children alike.

    PFCs have been link to immune system damage, cancer, hypothyroidism, birth defects, sexual problems and more.

    And we're all exposed to this stuff nearly every single day. In some places, they're even in the air and water.

    Unless you seal yourself in a bubble, you might not be able to completely stop all PFC exposure... and even then, the bubble itself might contain PFCs.

    You just can't win!

    But you can take steps to protect yourself and your family by removing the riskiest products from your home. Environmental Working Group has a list of common items that contain PFCs, which you'll find here.

    It's spring cleaning time anyway - make it a thorough one this year.

  2. Slash your BPA levels in just 3 days

    The bad news is that BPA is everywhere - and if you eat and drink from plastic containers, this hormone-like chemical is building up inside you right now.

    The good news is that you can slash your levels in just three days - and all you need to do is swap packaged foods for the fresh stuff you should be eating anyway.

    Three days - so what are you waiting for?

    Researchers recruited five families - two parents and two small kids in each - from the San Francisco Bay area and collected urine samples over eight days: two days while on their normal diets, three days while eating fresh organic meals and snacks stored in glass and stainless steel, and three days back on their normal diets.

    What they found was stunning.

    After three days of eating fresh foods, BPA levels fell by an average of 60 percent. The researchers also found that levels of DHEP - a phthalate used in plastics that's another known endocrine disruptor - fell by 50 percent.

    But those low levels didn't last: Researchers say that when the families went back to their normal diets, those levels shot right back up.

    Lesson: Make the change - just make sure it's permanent.

    Naturally, the chemicals industry claims this study is proof that BPA leaves the body quickly, and is therefore harmless.

    Wrong on both counts.

    In three days, the families who ate the fresh food lost 60 percent of their BPA - a great start, but since 40 percent of the BPA was still present, it's not quite proof that all of it will simply melt right out of the body.

    And even if it did, it doesn't mean this stuff is harmless.

    Studies have linked BPA exposure to diabetes, heart disease, early puberty and sexual problems. One study last year found that men with high levels of it had a range of sperm-related issues including low counts, concentration, vitality and motility. (Read more here.)

    The best way to avoid BPA and the other chemicals hidden in plastics is to avoid anything served or stored in those plastics in the first place... along with metal cans, which are lined with BPA.

    And never, ever microwave your food in plastic.

    That means eating fresh meat and produce - but the benefits go far beyond lower levels of BPA: Real food can help you to lose weight and lower your risk for any number of diseases and conditions.

  3. What's in your D?

    Vitamin D supplements can be as different as night and day--and if you're taking the wrong stuff, your body could be missing out big.
  4. Lousy job can be worse than no job

    While a steady job can help keep your bank account healthy, a lousy one can actually destroy your mental health--and a new study shows how it could even be worse for you than not working at all.
  5. Cuppa jo cuts stroke risk in women

    Everyone's favorite caffeine boost can do a lot more than perk you up--a new study finds that coffee may actually slash the risk of stroke in women.
  6. The high price of hair growth

    A common hair loss drug can lead to erectile dysfunction, impotence, and libido problems. And that means men who think a full head of hair will boost their sex lives are in for the shock of their lives instead.
  7. Hold that call when crossing the road

    A new study confirms what most of us already know: The older you get, the harder it is to focus on two things at the same time.
  8. Cancer alternative goes mainstream

    It's a shock right to the heart of the cancer system: An FDA panel has signed off on a new device that could forever change how the deadliest brain tumors are treated. There are no drugs... no chemo... no surgery... and best of all, almost no side effects.
  9. Depressed? Don't touch that pill bottle!

    Just look at Chantix: The notoriously bad antismoking drug was never tested on depressed people--even though studies have found that up to 40 percent of all depressed people smoke.
  10. Tai chi beats depression

    A new study finds the slow, rhythmic Chinese exercises called Tai Chi can help seniors beat depression--even in cases where drugs have failed.
  11. BP meds linked to obesity

    If you've gained weight since you started taking blood pressure meds, it's not your imagination.
  12. The myth of prehypertension

    Researchers used data on more than 20,000 patients with elevated blood pressure who weren't treated for it, then tracked them to see what sort of heart risks they faced over the years.
  13. Pink isn't just for princesses

    Researchers say a common source of the color, a pigment that comes from undersea algae, could help prevent dementia.
  14. Working moms in obesity blame game

    A new study finds that the children of working mothers weigh ever-so-slightly more than the kids of moms who don't work.
  15. Feds jump the gun on diet drug

    An FDA panel has voted to approve a new diet drug despite potentially deadly risks, but don't worry. They have a plan for that: They also voted to keep studying the drug once it's on the market.
  16. Some bad meds just won't go away

    Tricyclic antidepressants are so awful they're not even used for depression anymore--but millions of people still take them anyway, because they're commonly used off-label to treat chronic pain.
  17. Big Pharma's creepy pals

    A new report by ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news agency, finds nearly 300 sanctioned docs raking in the dollars.
  18. The rising toll of diabetes and obesity

    It's one of the most frightening "coming attractions" I've ever seen: By 2050, up to a third of all U.S. adults will be diabetic. That's triple the current rate of 1 in 10, and--depending on our population growth--could mean more than 100 million diabetics facing long-term health problems and expensive care. It sounds like a disaster movie in the making...
  19. Magnetic therapy beats depression

    A new study finds that the emerging depression treatment I've been telling you about, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), can help beat even the toughest cases of depression.
  20. Diabetes hospitalizations on the rise

    Too many young adults are spending too much time in the hospital.

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